Monday, October 30, 2017

Diwali, The AASRA Way

This year, the festival of lights was celebrated with great gaiety and joy in the workplaces of AASRA. The Diya project initiative of AASRA was a great success this Diwali and played a small yet significant part in lighting up the lives of the people in need.It was celebrated in six workplaces of AASRA which are sector 6, sector 21, sector 5, OSAP, Jagda and Khalsa involving enthusiastic children and equally enthusiastic members.


The first and foremost thing that marked the beginning of Diwali celebration was the distribution of profit made in Diya project among the women who made the diyas in Sector-6, OSAP and Sector-21. Diwali is incomplete without crackers and sweets, and keeping this in mind, sweets and crackers were distributed among the children of all the workplaces. The members were also fed sweets at the end as a happy Diwali from the kids. All the members actively participated in the Diwali celebration of their respective workplace as well as of the other workplace. All in all, it was a bright and great Diwali, for the members and children, alike.

written by :-
                    Srija Mukhopadhyay

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Lighting Lives, Making a Difference: Diya Project 2k17

New clothes, sweets, crackers. Diwali is a time of joy and celebration. But there are many who aren't fortunate enough. For the poor, buying things during festivals can be nothing but a far fetched dream.
We at AASRA believe that there's no greater joy than the joy of serving the poor and the less fortunate ones. Each year, we create employment opportunities for dozens of poor women during Diwali, so that they have enough money to celebrate the festival of lights with their families. DIYA PROJECT is our greatest and most awaited project every year, for which every volunteer of AASRA puts in a lot of effort (and love). We buy diyas from a wholesale seller, and buy decorative items such as glitter powder, paints etc. We go to three workplaces and ask the women there to decorate these Diyas for us. Our volunteers roam around the campus of NITR, visiting faculty and students and taking orders for diyas from them. These decorated diyas are sold for a profit, and the profits are given to the women who make them.

(sector 21)

(sector 6)


This year, we executed the 11th Diya Project, and it has been the most successful project till date. Thanks to the very supportive staff and students of NIT Rourkela, we received a total order of 1976 diyas! In the beginning, we were definitely worried. An order this big? We weren't sure if we could deliver. But that's where the women from our workplaces, OSAP, Sector 6 and Sector 21 stepped in. They were confident in themselves and promised to deliver these Diyas to us way before Diwali.
When we went to collect the diyas from them, we were surprised to look at how beautiful they looked.

Each one was different, each one was beautiful. The women looked contended with their work, and our joy knew no bounds. They were packed in beautiful boxes, and were sparkling. Then came the most important part, delivery. Delivering 1900 diyas can be difficult, but it didn't feel so. Our Volunteers love to work, and within no time, we delivered every order, two days before Diwali. People seemed happy this year, thanks to the beautiful diyas. Indeed some perfect Diwali decorations for their room.

 Coming to statistics, this year's Diya Project has been our greatest success till date. We never expected an order this big, and we were definitely not sure that we could finish the work with a 100 percent efficiency, but we did it. From the total amount collected, we subtract the money it cost us for wax, decorations, diyas, threads, transportation and packing costs, and other miscellaneous heads to calculate profits. In 2015, the profit made was 23,800/- and in 2016, we made a profit of 27,450/-. This year, we made a whopping profit of 42,273/-. The amount of money given to the women is calculated on the number of diyas they make. This year, they made almost twice of what they made last year. They were extremely happy. Indeed, a happy Diwali. This year, a bar was set. Expectations for next year are very high. We're sure our volunteers look forward to working with next year's Diya Project with the same amount of enthusiasm as this year. This is how AASRA helped light up people's lives this Diwali. What did you do to make a difference?                                                                                                                                        


                                                                                                              written by:-
                                               Nikhil Vobbilisetty

Monday, October 9, 2017

To New Beginnings

Guru Nanak Public School, Khalsa has been a partner of AASRA for a long time. We’ve been teaching kids of neighboring slums at GNPS for quite some time now. A few of our alumni members had the idea of using GNPS’s infrastructure for teaching children of Sector-21 and OSAP colony, to maximize our efficiency and also to benefit other children in nearby areas who weren’t in our former workplaces.

AASRA’s members had a meeting with the school management body of GNPS in March, 2016. There were some obstacles during the initial phase, as some of the board members were skeptical about giving their infrastructure to be used for teaching kids of nearby localities, due to former issues with people of the naya bazaar area. With a little help from Mr. Kulwinder Singh from GNPS, who has been very supportive of AASRA and a series of discussions and meetings, we finally were able to convince the management. Now, you’ll be happy to know that we have formally begun teaching at GNPS to the underprivileged for free, helping them achieve their dreams.

The GNPS project aims to: 1. Effectively use our member strength to teach children of OSAP colony and Sector 21. 2. Use audio-visual aids to make learning experience very student friendly. 3. Focus on preparation for Navodaya exam and other scholarship exams. 4. Extend our reach to children of nearby localities. We sincerely thank everyone who has helped make this program reality, and hope that this becomes a success!

written by :- 
Nikhil Vobbilisetty

Thursday, June 8, 2017


AASRA, the social service wing of NITR has been working from years to uplift the poor. Our volunteers go around Rourkela and teach underprivileged children. But success isn’t restricted to classroom scoring. Many of these kids are left without jobs after their 12th. Many are known to leave studies after their 12th, find petty jobs and work on a wage, or get married. That is when we realized that we needed something to help these kids secure a bright future.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY) is an initiative by the Government of India under the Ministry of Skill Development and Enterpreneurship. It aims to prepare today’s youth in Industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood. To help some children who had fewer resources, we at AASRA identified a few kids from our workplaces who could be potential benefactors of this program. Since we go around a lot of places in Rourkela, the search wasn’t difficult for us. We sat down with them and talked about the pros of this program, how they could benefit from this and get good jobs in the future. Trades under this program were discussed with these students, to help identify their interests or skills they could take up in the future as a career. Many children from Sector-21 and OSAP Colony fulfilled the necessary requirements
enlisted by the program. AASRA visited Chhend center on the 8th of April, because Chhend has been under PMKVY for a while now. After thoroughly examining the facilities, placement records, course curriculum etc. available, we came to a conclusion that the program would indeed benefit these underprivileged children in building them a fruitful career in the future. The kids we teach are no less than family for us, and we were ready to do anything for their sake.

On the 10th of April, 2017, the Central Manager of the PMKVY Center at Chhend visited sector 21 for the counselling and survey process for the project. In a brief meeting that was held with the children, they were provided the details of the whole program. A final list of students with their respective trades/courses of interest was made. The Central Manager promised to return in two days with the brochures and forms in order to complete the formalities necessary. A special mention to the zonal head of this program, who assured AASRA personally that he would take care of these children for us; thus supporting us as a collaborator in achieving our motive, to provide these kids the career they deserve. He praised us for our work, told us that what we were doing for these kids is noble. Such positive remarks get us going. They fuel our passion to work and serve for a better tomorrow. These children were all-set to have a successful career now, thanks to PMKVY.

With a lot of joy, we’d like you to know that on the 1st of May, 2017, the enrollment of the enlisted candidates was finally done for PMKVY and Skill Mission Program of the Government of India. This was just the first batch of candidates of AASRA enrolled under Placement based skill development programs. We at AASRA, along with the skill center wish to help many more children beyond our workplaces, in hopes of helping more children. We know that there are thousands out there in need of help and direction. Even something as big as changing the world begins with one small step at a time, and we had taken our first steps.

On 21 May 2017, a few of our volunteers visited the PMKVY center at Chhend with the selected trainees from OSAP and Sector-21. Some kids would be trained in Hospitality(Hotel Management), some as solar panel technicians and some as industrial sewing machine operators. The trainees seemed glad after visiting their classrooms, labs and hostel areas. A seminar was held on the 28th of May at NIT Rourkela, where the state head of PMKVY Centers and other officers were present. The attendees, mostly students of class 10, 12 and +3 or above were told of this program and its benefits. They learned the importance of skill development and were motivated towards achieving their goal. We’re pretty sure that these kids will now work hard to acheieve this goal. We hope that these kids follow the footsteps of their seniors and work hard in building themselves a successful career.

You’ll be very happy to know that a total of 4 people started training in their course on the 1st of June, and the rest will begin anytime now. AASRA thanks each and every one of its volunteers who made it possible for these lesser privileged children to train for a bright future. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


 Each year several thousands of patients during surgeries or transplantations require blood transfusions.Unfortunately a large chunk of this group succumbs to the unavailability of the compatible blood type in the blood banks. Hence the need for blood donation is of humongous importance. Not known to many,that the blood donated by a single person can be utilized for at least three patients, since three major components of blood can be successfully derived out of it. This shows the high relevance of blood donations in saving several priceless lives.

In an ingenuous attempt to provide assistance in saving the lives of patients in need of blood, AASRA organized a Blood Donation Camp on 18th March in collaboration with the CWS Hospital. The camp began at about 10AM, with volunteers swarming into the hospital premises on the basis of the information circulated amongst the students almost a week before.The volunteers were first asked to fill up a form where they provided certain basic information relating to their health status. On the basis of the data they submitted, the volunteers were cross examined by the doctors to make sure that firstly, they were fit enough to donate blood and secondly, whether the donated blood could be safely transfused when needed to do so. After the requisite health checkup the volunteers were called into the chamber where the doctors collected the blood. Disposable syringes were used and the collected blood was stored as per standard medical protocol.

Finally this noble step was a humongous success and we take pride in our attempt to provide a minuscule help in helping save a few more valuable lives. The current need of the hour is to encourage people to be a part of this noble cause through awareness regarding its inconceivable pertinence in medical treatments. It’s worth mentioning that a considerable portion of the educated mass is still not free from the clutches of the vintage archaic myths associated with blood donations which include “lessening of blood content”, “weakness”, “infliction with other diseases” and the list is unfortunately endless. It’s very essential to remove people from these messy superstitions at first. Only then can we rightfully ensure our blood banks to be self-sufficient in every blood group, even the rarest ones.


Friday, December 9, 2016


Abiding by the ethos of modern development,  AASRA came up with an idea of exposing the kids of our workplace to the concept and culture of Science Exhibitions. The core blueprint of this plan was to divide the entire lot of students in our workplaces into teams of 3-4 headed by a team member. After the projects were finalized and the required budget for each project was allocated, the titanic task of preparing the models began in full swing. The team members visited the workplaces to make sure the students understand the underlying concepts of each project that they would represent in the exhibition.  Decentralising all the tasks like arranging the transportation, food and refreshment, printing of ID Cards and Invitation Cards was done to ensure the smooth organization of the event. This event was to be a part of the Institute’s gigantic technical festival INNOVISION, the largest of its kind in Eastern India.

The event was immensely praised by the visitors who thronged the venue and boosted up the confidence and interest of the young minds- which was the entire sole motive behind organizing this event. The kids were provided lunch at the Institute Guest House and spent the entire day with us. The kids were so excited when they saw the guests and visitors attending the event, that their enthusiasm served as a fuel which kept us on our toes throughout the event in spite of the exertion baggage that we were carrying on our back since quite a few days to ensure a smooth organization.

The entire day-long event ended with a prize distribution ceremony. The kids were brimming with joy upon getting gifts and prizes and their smiling faces served as the biggest reward for the efforts that we all had put in, to make this event a success.


In an attempt to provide the taste of self-employment and in an effort to inculcate within the people that harnessing their time and potential can make them financially independent, AASRA came up with a unique concept –“Diya Project”.

We provided the members of our designated workplaces with the raw materials required for making decorative diyas. Wax was given the shape of Diyas with a wick to light it up. It was then decorated with glittering colours and made as attractive as possible. All this work was done by men and women of our workplaces, who sincerely worked diligently. Their commendable hard work and sincerity combined with their unflinching commitment and conformity to complete the tasks within the allotted time span is a lesson worth learning by each one of us. All this was in a near-completion mode by the end of the Durga Puja Vacation.

Just after the vacation ended, the herculean task of taking orders for selling the diyas began. All the members actively spent their evening hours roaming all through the staff quarters in the entire campus to collect as many orders as possible. Most of the faculty members know about this noble project of AASRA. Most of the faculties and staff generously took the offer of buying Diyas, which were available in three different sizes and had some really good combo offers as well. Not just staff quarters, our diyas were in great demand among the student fraternity as well , with a colossal order received from the girls hostel and some of the boys hostel as well. To the utter amazement of the entire team , this year we witnessed a prodigiously high demand , which was high enough for the managing team to send orders to immediately stop taking any further orders.

Finally, we arrived at the last and final step of this mammoth project- the distribution of diyas. Again this was successfully accomplished with the collective effort of the entire team. And finally, all this four-month-long task resulted in a Diwali that lighted up not just the houses of the privileged ones, but also the less fortunate ones outside the campus could celebrate a better Diwali.

Diwali, The AASRA Way

This year, the festival of lights was celebrated with great gaiety and joy in the workplaces of AASRA. The Diya project initiative of AAS...